In the first five months of 2023, Tamil Nadu witnessed a decline in road accident fatalities involving two-wheelers after implementing compulsory helmet wearing and imposing fines. The road accident data until May revealed a decrease in two-wheeler fatalities from 3,452 in the corresponding period last year to 3,200 this year. Notably, two-wheeler fatalities accounted for 44% of the total fatalities, which stood at 7,335 during this period.
Improved compliance in urban areas, where enforcement measures are more stringent, contributed significantly to the reduction in fatalities. Chennai city recorded a mere 11 fatalities this year due to strict enforcement against helmetless driving. However, the data indicates that rural areas continue to face challenges in enforcing helmet compliance effectively.
Shockingly, nearly 31% of the two-wheeler fatalities were attributed to non-wearing of helmets until May, with the number rising to 992 this year from 928 in the same period last year. The districts with the highest fatalities due to non-wearing of helmets were Tiruvallur (64), Chengalpattu, and Coimbatore (56 each), Madurai (51), and Dindigul (46).
Highlighting the importance of helmet usage, a senior police officer stressed the need for greater awareness among the public. Despite the successes in urban areas, he acknowledged the difficulty in enforcing compliance in rural regions.
The data also revealed that 25,540 driving licenses were suspended for traffic violations involving six offenses identified by the Supreme Court committee on road safety. Red light jumping accounted for the highest number of suspended licenses (7,070), followed by overspeeding (5,900) and using a mobile phone while driving (5,657).
Authorities are now striving to bridge the compliance gap between urban and rural areas and continue to emphasize the significance of helmet usage to ensure road safety for all citizens.